Terms of Reference
Professional Learning and Development Committee


The Professional Learning and Development Committee (PLDC) is a subcommittee reporting to the Committee on Specialty Education. The committee is responsible for developing, monitoring, and promoting excellence in lifelong learning processes and strategies for physicians in practice.

Responsibility and Authority

The core responsibilities of the Professional Learning and Development Committee are to:

  • Contribute to the development and monitor implementation of policies, a work plan, and an operational plan relevant to the Royal College’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program;
  • Contribute to the development, review, and monitoring of educational and ethical standards for continuing professional development activities and programs for physicians;
  • Advise the Committee on Specialty Education on the policies, strategies, tools and improvements to enhance Maintenance of Certification;
  • Contribute to the development, review, and monitoring of accreditation standards for CPD provider organizations;
  • Facilitate the development, implementation, and monitoring of practice assessment and improvement strategies and tools for physicians in practice;
  • Provide advice and support to the Committee on Specialty Education and its subcommittees for preparing residents to enter practice; and
  • Review appeals submitted by Fellows subject to having their Fellowship removed for non-compliance with the MOC Program.

The PLDC has a collaborative relationship with three committees, operationalized through participation by three ex-officio non-voting members of other committees who also sit on the PLDC, as noted within the below section.


The PLDC has ten (10) voting members, including the chair who is selected from one of the categories of voting members below. The 10 voting committee members include:

  • Three (3) Fellows of the Royal College associated with the national specialty societies;
  • Two (2) continuing medical education (CME)/continuing professional development (CPD) deans;
  • One (1) Fellow-at-large;
  • One (1) representative from postgraduate medical education (program director or postgraduate dean);
  • One (1) Regional Advisory Committee member or chair;
  • One (1) public member; and
  • One (1) patient representative.

The PLDC will also include the following ten (10) non-voting members who may attend meetings but shall not be counted for the purposes of establishing quorum:

  • Vice-Chair, CPD Accreditation Committee;
  • Vice-Chair, Simulation Accreditation Committee;
  • One (1) member of the Assessment Committee with expertise in assessment strategies and tools applicable to practice;
  • One (1) representative from the CPD Office of the Federation of Medical Specialists of Quebec;
  • One (1) representative from the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada;
  • One (1) registrar or designate from a provincial medical regulatory authority;
  • Two (2) specialty residents, one each from Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC) and one from Fédération des médecins residents du Québec (FMRQ); and
  • One (1) representative from the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s CPD office.
  • One (1) representative of inter-professional CPD

Key Competencies and Characteristics

Committee members should possess:

  • Knowledge of continuing professional development theory and practice;
  • Expertise in medical education and/or continuous quality improvement;
  • Experience with the development of standards relevant to educational programs;
  • An ability to demonstrate strategic thinking relating to lifelong learning processes and programs;
  • An ability to contribute to establishing and implementing a vision and strategic direction for the MOC Program;
  • Experience in the development of policies relevant to the promotion and evaluation of the MOC Program’s goals and objectives; and
  • The ability and willingness to meet the strategic directions of the Royal College and the willingness to participate effectively in committee meetings.

Term of Office

The usual term of office of the chair is two years, renewable once (maximum of four years). The term of the vice-chair is one year, renewable three times (maximum of four years). The usual term of office for members is two years, renewable twice (maximum of six years), with the exception of the voting specialty residents whose terms are one year, renewable twice (maximum of three years).The terms of office take effect as stipulated so long as the member’s total years of service on the committee do not extend beyond 10 years.

All terms shall begin and end at the time of the Annual Meeting of the Members when vacancies need to be filled.


The Professional Learning and Development Committee usually meets face-to-face (or virtually) at least twice per year, and as required.

Quorum consists of a majority of the voting members of the committee (i.e., 50% plus one). The chair is counted as a voting member in constituting quorum. However as the presiding official of the committee, the chair does not move motions. Furthermore, the chair shall only vote when the vote is conducted by secret ballot. Every question shall be decided by a majority of the votes cast. In the event of a tie vote, the question shall be defeated. When a committee is called to make a decision outside of a meeting by e-ballot, the same rules apply.

Appointment to a Royal College committee carries significant responsibilities, and all committee members are expected to adhere to the Volunteer Code of Conduct. In addition, committee members are required to maintain absolute discretion and not divulge, re-produce, or release any confidential information except when authorized by the Royal College. Committee members may download a copy of committee materials for the sole purpose of participating in committee work. All downloaded materials must be deleted once the related committee work is completed. The Royal College retains copies of committee materials should committee members wish to access them at a later time for related work.

Committee work product

In the course of performing their committee duties, committee members may produce or contribute to materials, content or other work products. These work products and the related intellectual property will be owned by the Royal College. The Royal College is open to discussing other ownership arrangements for specific projects. Alternative arrangements must be confirmed in writing by the project contributors and the Royal College.

TOR record

Approved by: Governance Committee
Approval Date: May 31, 2021
Approval path: CSE, GC
Effective date: May 31, 2021
Date of next review: Spring 2022
Royal College Office: OMEP
Version status: Approved